Dressed by Jess: What to Wear and Not Wear at APA Convention

It’s about that time of year when thousands of psychologists and trainees come together to attend APA Convention. This is always an exciting time, especially for graduate students, as people get to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones, and attend several incredible workshops and poster sessions.

With all this excitement also come thoughts of, “What am I going to wear?!?” Here are three rules to follow when dressing for convention:

  1. This is a professional conference! It’s important to think about how you present yourself when attending sessions, presenting your poster, or listening to Jane Pauley during the opening session. You don’t have to be in a suit everyday, but sticking with key pieces that you feel confident in can make you shine—and people will notice. Always make sure to add your own flare to your outfit.
  2. You will be walking A LOT! Comfort for your feet is key. Ladies, flats can work with everything and are very trendy right now. Kitten heels are always very cute, and my staple. I don’t recommend 5-inch heels, as you will be walking everywhere, not only in the Convention Center, but to sessions/socials/events in the neighboring hotels.  Gentleman, this is easy: Just don’t show up to present your poster in flip-flops or sneakers. Remember, you are presenting not only your research, but also yourself.
  3. Business professional doesn’t always have to be boring! Fashion is fun, and if it’s not, it should be. Here are a few ideas for what I think are very trendy choices, yet still professional. Ladies, dresses are a girl’s best friend. Easy to pack, and wear.  This dress is sleek, flattering and professional; more affordable options and colors abound. Throw a simple cardigan over it to keep you warm in the very air-conditioned Convention Center. If dresses aren’t your fancy, think about a pencil skirt, blouse and cardigan. Guys, keep it simple and classy. Trousers, a button-up shirt and nice loafers are always the easiest. You can even complement that simple attire with one nice blazer to pair with different separates.

Just remember, this is a professional conference and not just another classroom. If you look like you just strolled out of bed, some people may not take an interest and pass you by as you stand next to your poster all by your lonesome. It’s all about having fun and enjoying everything that APA Convention has to offer.

I hope to see some fashion-forward attire during Convention. Don’t forget to stop by the APAGS booth for some awesome swag and for a list of all APAGS programs. Have fun, network and don’t be afraid to show your best self!

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